The Photography of D L Ennis, and more!


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Grandfather Mountain North Carolina

One major attraction for many visitors to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina would certainly have to be Grandfather Mountain. If you are of the nature lover type as I am, GFM holds enough secrets to keep one distracted for days without ever feeling the need to pursue adventure elsewhere. GFM holds some of the roughest terrain that a hiker could ever hope for in it's 13 mile trail system. My wife and I hiked the Profile trail last year for the first time. We started out at around 10am with temps in the low 70's. Two hours later nearing the top of the mountain we find ourselves in freezing temperatures with snow on the ground. Needless to say, the weather can be somewhat unpredictable on GFM so if you plan to hit the trails anytime soon, be ye' prepared for changing temps and weather. Dress in layers. You'll be glad you did. You can find a GFM web cam here.

A wind speed record was recently set on January 25th at the top of GFM of over 200mph. The anemometer only measured 200mph and reports from the weather station had the needle well passed the 200mph mark, so nobody knows exactly knows what the wind speed was that day. The wind upended a 300 pound boulder that was cemented into the parking lot and caused extensive damage to the Visitors Center when several windows were blown out and the wind had it's way with the interior of the building. Repairs have been made and they are now back in full swing.

If you are a shutter bug, then GFM is a perfect destination for you. GFM hosts a Nature Photography Workshop each year with 165 participants spending a weekend photographing flora, fauna and wildlife that call GFM home. Top nature photographers are there each year to present workshops of their chosen subject matter.

Perhaps the one single event that makes GFM so special to many Southern Highlanders would be the "Highland Games". This event must be experienced by anyone who has ancestry going back to Scotland, Ireland, Whales or who may just have an interest in the culture and tradition of the people who came to this area to make a new life for themselves. Music, dance, food and heavy athletics make up the majority of the festival but there are plenty of other things that can cause you to loose yourself in the day and find you wondering where the day went. That to me is the true measure of how well and event is put together. If you find yourself struggling to decide which event to see or participate in, then you can truly say it was worth the trip to get there. I'm heading back to GFM this year for the games and to spend a little quality time with around the campfire doing basically anything that doesn't require thought. I find that there is a peace that comes with staring into a campfire and being nearly hypnotized by the dance of the flames. The last time we camped on GFM was late fall of 2005. It dipped to 27 degrees that night and there we were (Kim and I) with a hot pot of boiling camp soup, sitting by the fire being entertained by the flames dancing around this little pot full of heaven with the sweet aroma of tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes and so many other little miracles in the pot that I cant even remember being lifted to my nose by the gentle breeze that Grandfather would breathe down on us.


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